Lackluster defense dooms Arizona United in 3-2 loss to Seattle Sounders FC 2

Seattle's Charlie Lyon did just enough against Chris Cortez and Arizona United - Michael Rincon /
Seattle’s Charlie Lyon did just enough against Chris Cortez and Arizona United – Michael Rincon /

Arizona United’s four match home unbeaten streak came to an end this weekend with a 3-2 loss against Seattle Sounders FC 2. Despite United’s clicking without starting midfielders Luke Rooney and Matheus Silva, their defense wasn’t good enough.

“Horrible losing the game,” said Arizona head coach Frank Yallop. “The whole thing is about winning and it feels bad when you lose. It doesn’t matter how it comes about. We played some decent stuff. We created some chances. But, it was sort of for nothing. We didn’t win, we lost.”

Yallop made several changes to the side that played against Swope Park Rangers last week, most notably giving Jordan Stagmiller the start in goal and having Uchenna Uzo on the bench, who Yallop was looking to give a rest.

With United playing a high line the visitors tested them early as forward Andy Craven was put through but Stagmiller was off his line to smother quickly.

United controlled the possession well for most of the first half and had a couple of good chances as Cortez’s header was blocked and Blackwood shot straight at S2 goalkeeper Charlie Lyon.

United’s high line came back to bite them minutes later though as Darwin Jones, who had been the Sounders’ most influential player on the night, was put through and beat Stagmiller at his near post.

United did respond well after the goal as they continued to pressure Seattle and were rewarded with a wonder strike from Chris Cortez, after he stole the ball and unleashed a shot from 30 yards out into the top corner in the 29th minute.

Just seven minutes later United’s pressure would pay off again as they took the lead after Brock Granger’s cross found Long Tan in the box, and the striker put it away for a 2-1 lead.

Their lead didn’t last long though, as the high line was beaten again when Seattle tied it up just before halftime. Jones was played in and was denied well, but the rebound came out to Jordan Schweitzer who chipped Stagmiller to tie the game 2-2.

United did start out the second half brightly as Tan’s header was deflected just wide and Adam West hit the top of the bar with a shot from outside the box following a corner.

United were again caught flat-footed in defense, as Jones was put through and put away his second of the night to give the Sounders a 3-2 lead.

“Our defending was poor,” Yallop said. “It’s been like that all year really. You can’t build on anything if you keep conceding soft goals. They were pretty easily scored on our side unfortunately.”

Yallop sent on Uzo, Brandon Poltonieri, and Sam Garza to try to provide a spark for the team, and they managed to go close twice with Poltonieri’s cross being tipped over by Lyon and Uzo’s header missing just wide.

Garza had a chance late on, after a deflected cross fell to him inside the 18, but he blazed over and the subbed-on Julian Ringhof couldn’t direct his header on target in the dying minutes of the game.

With the loss United dropped to 4-6-7 on the year, but are still only 5 points out of a potential playoff spot, something that they can remain positive about.

“Look at the table in the west it is incredibly tight,” said Arizona United forward Chris Cortez. “I mean the point difference from fourth to twelfth is tiny. You win two games and you’re in fifth, sixth place comfortably sitting in the playoffs.

“So for us, it’s just doing the same things,” Cortez said. “Look at the positives and be able to take from that and be able to more consistently do the good spells we have. Are we able to do that for 90 minutes instead of the forty or forty-five or sixty so that’s kind of the big goal.”

United will travel to Utah this Friday to take on the Real Monarchs SLC who are currently in 9th place.